We’ve seen many chapter close in the eleven seasons that the Thunder have been in Oklahoma City, but yesterday saw the official closing of the first book.
As you know by now, Russell Westbrook has been traded to the Houston Rockets for another declining point guard – Chris Paul – and a couple more draft picks and swaps.
This has been one of the most wild, blockbuster NBA summers in recent memory. The Toronto Raptors winning their first ever championship was unpredictable enough, and since then, we’ve seen the entire league splinter apart. The lack of parity is an issue that has been maligned for probably as long as the league has existed, but for the first time since the Warriors put every other team into a chokehold, the field is wide open.
Paul George’s trade request to move back home and join Kawhi Leonard to create the new superteam shocked everybody, and his void begged the question: when, not if, will Russell Westbrook be traded?
Presti fleeced a record number of first-round picks from the Clippers, which made it clear that Oklahoma City’s window has closed. We as fans have felt it for a while now, even if we couldn’t admit it to ourselves. Since Kevin Durant left to get his rings, the Thunder has struggled to make it out of the first round of the playoffs, or even pretend to be convincing during the regular season.
After George’s trade, we could feel the wind changing, and it was the first time I’ve ever thought, “You know, we should really trade Russell Westbrook.” He was always my favorite Thunder player, even if he wasn’t the most reliable or consistent. Can you win a championship with the Brodie? Who cares, he’s fun to watch. Win by the sword, die by the sword. Westbrook is the most chaotic-neutral player since Allen Iverson. AI never won a title, but his larger-than-life persona and playing style has already cemented him as a legendary player, and by this point that almost means more than a trophy.